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Santa Margarita triumphs in OT thriller
IRVINE – Santa Margarita's girls water polo team drew an exclusion with 31 seconds left in overtime and the score tied. The Eagles had an extra attacker but needed to run a play without their top four players, all of whom fouled out.
"That's not something we practiced," Santa Margarita coach Kevin Ricks said with a smile after the CIF-SS Division 2 final on Saturday.
The Eagles left in the pool still managed to score. Tessa deRecat scored off a cross pass from freshman Sophia Baia with 8 seconds left in the second, three-minute overtime to rally second-seeded Santa Margarita past No. 4 Mater Dei, 12-11, at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.
Santa Margarita (25-6) collected the dramatic victory after Haley Wan, Emily Loughlin, Morgan Martinez and Kacey Avalos had fouled out.
"I'm a senior and all my other seniors were kicked out so I just knew it was on me to score the goal," deRecat said. "I just knew that no one would notice me at the No. 2 (position or in front of the left post, about 5meters out) ... and it worked."
Santa Margarita also needed an alert pass from Baia and one last defensive stand. Mater Dei's last shot sailed high as the Eagles collected their second, 12-11, overtime decision against Mater Dei (23-10).
Santa Margarita also defeated Mater Dei, 12-11, in the Trinity League in sudden-death overtime.
"(Nikki) Doumas had big saves for us (in goal)," Ricks said. "It's exciting to see everybody contribute."
Santa Margarita claimed its first section title since 2000 by rallying from two four-goal deficits in the third.
The Eagles trailed, 9-5, with just over two minutes left in the third but went on a 4-0 run with an extra-man goal by Loughlin, an outside strike by deRecat, an extra-man goal by Kelli Baumgardner and a perimeter strike by Wan. The final goal tied the score, 9-9, with 4:06 left in the fourth.
The score remained that way going into overtime.
"That was thrilling," Ricks said of the rally.
Santa Margarita scored the first two goals of overtime, but Mater Dei responded to lock the score, 11-11, on an extra-man score by Audrey Light with 1:13 left.
The Monarchs went 6 for 15 on the power-play; Santa Margarita 4 for 8.
"We had our opportunities," Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said.
"It's tough to swallow an ejection with 30 seconds to go after you play a long game, but it's part of the game and they put away their opportunities."
Mater Dei defender Sydney Blubaugh also fouled out. Wan finished with a match-high five goals. Brianna Daboub and Light each scored three goals for Mater Dei.
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